Timeline of Computer History

Connection Machine 2 with DataVault
Thinking Machines is founded. Thinking Machines Corporation (TMC) was formed by MIT graduate student Danny Hillis and others to develop a new type of supercomputer. Their idea was to use many individual processors of moderate power rather than one extremely powerful processor. Their first machine, called The Connection Machine (CM-1), had 64,000 microprocessors, and began shipping in 1986. TMC later produced several larger computers with more powerful—the CM-2 and CM-5. Competition from more established supercomputer firms forced them into bankruptcy in 1993.
   Apple introduced its Lisa. The first personal computer with a graphical user interface, its development was central in the move to such systems for personal computers. The Lisa´s sloth and high price ($10,000) led to its ultimate failure.

The Lisa ran on a Motorola 68000 microprocessor and came equipped with 1 megabyte of RAM, a 12-inch black-and-white monitor, dual 5 1/4-inch floppy disk drives and a 5 megabyte Profile hard drive. The Xerox Star — which included a system called Smalltalk that involved a mouse, windows, and pop-up menus — inspired the Lisa´s designers.
Compaq PC clone
Compaq Computer Corp. introduced first PC clone that used the same software as the IBM PC. With the success of the clone, Compaq recorded first-year sales of $111 million, the most ever by an American business in a single year.

With the introduction of its PC clone, Compaq launched a market for IBM-compatible computers that by 1996 had achieved a 83-percent share of the personal computer market. Designers reverse-engineered the Compaq clone, giving it nearly 100-percent compatibility with the IBM.
   The ARPANET splits into the ARPANET and MILNET.  Due to the success of the ARPANET as a way for researchers in universities and the military to collaborate, it was split into military (MILNET) and civilian (ARPANET) segments.  This was made possible by the adoption of TCP/IP, a networking standard, three years earlier.  The ARPANET was renamed the “Internet” in 1995.
Robots & Artificial Intelligence
The Musical Instrument Digital Interface was introduced at the first North American Music Manufacturers show in Los Angeles. MIDI is an industry-standard electronic interface that links electronic music synthesizers. The MIDI information tells a synthesizer when to start and stop playing a specific note, what sound that note should have, how loud it should be, and other information.

Raymond Kurzweil, a pioneer in developing the electronic keyboard, predicts MIDI and other advances will make traditional musical instruments obsolete in the future. In the 21st century, he wrote in his book, "The Age of Intelligent Machines," "There will still be acoustic instruments around, but they will be primarily of historical interest, much like harpsichords are today.... While the historically desirable sounds of pianos and violins will continue to be used, most music will use sounds with no direct acoustic counterpart.... There will not be a sharp division between the musician and nonmusician."
Software & Languages
   Microsoft announced Word, originally called Multi-Tool Word, and Windows. The latter doesn´t ship until 1985, although the company said it would be on track for an April 1984 release. In a marketing blitz, Microsoft distributed 450,000 disks demonstrating its Word program in the November issue of PC World magazine.
Richard Stallman
Richard Stallman announces GNU.

Richard Stallman, a programmer at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, experienced a significant shift in attitudes during the late 1970s. Whereas the MIT hacker culture was one of sharing and openness, the commercial software world moved towards secrecy and access to source code became ever more restricted.

Stallman set out to develop a free alternative to the popular Unix operating system. This operating system called GNU (for Gnu's Not Unix) was going to be free of charge but also allow users the freedom to change and share it. Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) based on this philosophy in 1985.

While the GNU work did not immediately result in a full operating system, it provided the necessary tools for creating Linux. The software developed as part of the GNU project continues to form a large part of Linux, which is why the FSF asks for it to be called GNU/Linux.
   Able to hold 550 megabytes of prerecorded data, CD-ROMs grew out of music Compact Disks (CDs). The first general-interest CD-ROM product released after Philips and Sony announced the CD-ROM in 1984 was "Grolier´s Electronic Encyclopedia," which came out in 1985. The 9 million words in the encyclopedia only took up 12 percent of the available space. The same year, computer and electronics companies worked together to set a standard for the disks so any computer would be able to access the information.
Original Bernoulli Box
The Bernoulli Box is released. Using a special cartridge-based system that used hard disk technology, the Bernoulli Box was a type of removable storage that allowed people to move large files between computers when few alternatives (such as a network) existed. Allowing for many times the amount of storage afforded by a regular floppy disk, the cartridges came in capacities ranging from 5MB to 230MB.


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